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Pickle Me This

March 15, 2007

Quite

I tend to overuse the word “quite”, which is probably apparent from this blog, but I’m not going to check to be sure because then I’ll just be embarrassed. And so I’ve just gone through my entire story and removed most instances of the dreaded Q word. It really is the most ineffectual word one can use. In its ability to either intensify or lighten meaning, it comes to mean nothing. It’s not so bad in speech I think, when tone can guide it, but in writing it just obscures the point. Or in my writing, at least.

Not so related, but thinking about this has made me remember the way students use to use “maybe” when we taught English conversation in Japan. “Maybe” preceded anything someone didn’t feel quite (! but I won’t backspace) comfortable saying.
“Why don’t you love your boyfriend Yumiko?”
“May-be [drawn out long] he is not so handsome.”
or
“Are you okay today Tadayuki?”
“Hmmmm. May-be, I am sleepy.”
And most effectively:
“Gosh, it feels cold in here today.”
“May-be there is hole in back of your trousers.”

Other words I overuse: suppose, perhaps, so, bit, sure, fast, etc I am sure.

3 thoughts on “Quite”

  1. Crissy Calhoun says:

    your overused words are WAY more sophisticated than mine which include awesome, jazzy, yikes, and boo!

  2. Jennica says:

    Hmm, mine are way too similar to yours, Kerry… but also include awesome! (And, to my shame, “sweet”.)

    I *must* figure out how to get jazzy into my vocabulary more!

  3. Kerry says:

    You’re flattering me Crissy. I meant in writing, of course. In speech, I could really do to cut down on “cool” and “fuck” (though I have made good progress with the latter… until I’ve had a drink).

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